Helen McGuire – student blogger
There is a poster I walk past almost everyday in the John Ryland’s Library, and every time I see it I’m filled with a sort of sense of impending doom about the future course of my adult life. It’s a poster advertising careers at the discount supermarket ‘Aldi’. In the corner of the poster of doom it states that a graduate can get a starting salary of £40,000 and a ‘fully expensed Audi A4’. This poster always gets me thinking about what I’d want out of a career. Would I really be happy in a 9 to 5 job, working for Aldi and driving around in my Audi A4? Or am I prepared to sacrifice financial success for a more fulfilling career?
As a second year student, I’m just starting to think about what I want to do with my life. I still have no fixed career in mind but I’m pretty sure that the graduate job at Aldi isn’t for me. I too have been less than proactive in seeking out careers advice, and shamefully I’ve never made use of any of the facilities the Careers Service has to offer. But this year that will all change, and I’ll be writing a blog every month about my efforts to find a career that will suit me and hopefully I’ll enjoy. Also I hope this blog will reassure people who, like me, have no definite career plans. I’m an English student, which is a gift and a curse in itself. It’s a subject that provides me with such a broad range of skills that I could consider a career in pretty much any area. However, I can’t help feeling slightly jealous when I look at my friends studying law or medicine and realise they’ve already had the maturity and foresight to decide what they’re good at, what they want out of a career and are already some way to achieving it. I’m just stumbling around reading Larkin with my head in the clouds, and occasionally being brought back down to earth with a bump.
Anyway, like any right thinking person my first port of call for careers-related advice is the website www.prospects.ac.uk. It is an amazing website full of invaluable information about what to do after you graduate, from further study to profiles of different careers. If you’re like me and still undecided about what you want to do, one of the most helpful things to use on ‘Prospects’ is ‘Options with your subject’. It suggests a whole host of different career paths that relate to different degree subjects. Under ‘English’ there’s a long list of job ideas, from teacher (what a surprise…) to advertising account executive, but also a lot of ideas about jobs in the creative industries, which is lucky for me because I’m pretty sure that’s the sort of thing I’ll probably want to do when I graduate – and that’s about as decisive as I get when it comes to careers.
I’ve also recently attended the Postgraduate Study fair, because I’m fairly certain I want to do some form of further study after my time at Manchester. The whole idea of postgraduate study is still an absolute minefield to me, even though the fair was really useful, so in my next post I’ll be filling you in on all the fair has to offer.